Building Conceptual Understanding: Improving Mathematics Education in Online Courses
Abstract: Despite the introduction of Common Core State Standards and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics urging educators to explore fundamental concepts in mathematics at a deeper level, the majority of mathematics education has remained aimed at initial skill acquisition. The result has led to students learning to mimic a standard set of procedures and unable to connect these procedures to new and challenging problems. Further, this surface level understanding leaves learners underprepared for advanced mathematics topics. In our observations, when asked about the mathematical validity of their work, students were largely unable to communicate their ideas or utilized terminology that indicated a significant gap in conceptual understanding. In this article, we identify common conceptual misunderstandings and propose research-based solutions to help students gain a more robust understanding of mathematics in online environments.
Presider: Siyuan Li, Arizona State University